This article was originally published on January 1, 2016, as part of Associate Heather Long’s regular column for the New Castle County Women’s Journal.
What Happens When Good Employers Go Bad – Part Two
Nothing lasts forever, especially your statute of limitations. Here in Delaware, we only have two years from the date of your valid work injury to have your claim accepted. Once your claim is accepted, you are graced with an extended five year statute of limitations, which automatically extends every time the insurance company pays a medical expense on your behalf.
What this means is that if you don’t push your employer and their insurance company to properly accept your claim before your first two years are up, your claim will be lost forever and you will not receive any benefits that would otherwise flow from it. This is what we call a “bright line” rule, meaning that there is no, I repeat, no wiggle room.
Recently, one unsavory employer tricked an employee into thinking that her claim had been accepted, when in fact, it had not. That employee’s medical bills were being paid, but with fine print that said essentially that just because the insurance company is paying this bill doesn’t mean that they’ve accepted the claim. This went on for 70 payments over the course of two years. Once the two years was up the employer revealed its true colors and told the injured worker that it had never officially accepted her claim, and that she was out of luck. The insurance company told the injured worker during the two years following her work accident that they were “investigating” her claim, however all they were really doing was waiting for the calendar to turn so they could slam the door shut on her and deny her the workers compensation benefits that she would’ve otherwise been entitled to.
Please, do not let this happen to you!
If an insurance company indicates to you that they are “investigating” your claim, then you’d better have someone on your side, ready to fight to get you the benefits you deserve. If you fail to get the case accepted in two years, you too will have the door to your workers’ compensation benefits slammed in your face.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to read the fine print, and act promptly when injured at work. An attorney skilled in these types of cases can explain all the benefits that are due to you, and will fight to make sure that they get paid promptly and correctly. All of the attorneys in my office offer free consultations and don’t charge any fee up front. We get paid only when you get paid. Know your rights and do not let the statute of limitations pass you by!
Excellent Lawyer — 5.0 stars
“Heather has been amazing throughout this entire ordeal. When I thought I had no options, I came into contact with Heather and she not only took on my case when others wouldn’t, she handled it professionally and was honest and reassuring with me.”
The Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Delaware — 5.0 stars
“Heather Long kept her word. When I thought I was ready to give up, she said she would make them pay or take my case for free. Ms. Long got me into the right therapy and made sure that I was taking care of myself while filing paperwork and taking over my case. My case is still ongoing but let me say Ms. Long is holding my hand each day. I love her and her assistant, they really know how to make you feel like they’re there.”
About Heather Long
Heather has been an attorney for over six years, and is currently practicing workers’ compensation and personal injury law at Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz & O’Neill, P.A., with offices in Newark and Wilmington. Heather worked her way through law school as a paralegal in a personal injury firm. After passing the bar exam, she spent several years working as a defense attorney, representing local, regional and national companies. With the knowledge gained about the inner-workings of these companies, she now represents injured workers and personal injury plaintiffs.
Heather is a graduate of Widener University School of Law, and the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Prior to attending law school, she was licensed as a paramedic and spent time volunteering for her local ambulance corps. She is also active as a mock trial coach for Salesianum High School.
Heather is licensed to practice law in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please call (302) 565-6132 or email her directly at email@example.com.